Palm Pre: Only Sync Google “My Contacts”

Notice:  This is no longer necessary

This process described below is no longer necessary. As of Web OS 1.3.1 (released mid-November 2009), WebOS devices automatically limit Google contact syncing to records in  “My Contacts”. I have stopped using the method below, but I will leave this blog entry online for historical purposes.

Original Post:

As most early adopters of the Palm Pre know, Synergy with GMail pulls in records from “All Contacts” instead of “My Contacts.” The result for heavy GMail users is a contact record for virtually everyone you have ever emailed.

After about an hour of messing around, I was finally able to figure out how to get email and clean contacts from my GMail account.

If anyone is interested in setting this up on their phone, please follow the directions closely. There is a reason for every step. There are a few places that you can get tripped up.

Theory: Use Synergy with Nuevasync’s Exchange server emulation to sync Contacts and Synergy with setup GMail in the Pre for email and calendar.

End Results: Exchange Server Profile on Pre syncing via Nuevasync Google for Contacts and Calendar. Pre getting email directly from GMail and a useless Exchange email account that can’t be deleted. (I suppose everything can’t be perfect.)


Palm Pre Manual: Pre User Guide
page 144 – Stop Sync of Contacts with an Online Account
page 144 – Connect to an online calendar through the Palm Synergy feature
page 155 – Stop Sync of Calendar With an Online Account


  • Pre updated to 1.0.2 (may not be required — but it made the error messages in my trial and error process informative)
  • GMail account (of course)
  • Free account (let’s you use Active Sync to sync phone with GMail, Google Calendar, and Plaxo) Go set one up after reading the note below.
  • Verify that you preferences on are setup to give it access to your GMail and Google Calendar account. Pretty straightforward setup.

Important Notes:

  • In order to get around a Pre Limitation/Safeguard, the email address on your NuevaSync accountMUST not match your GMail address. Since you cannot change your email address, I had to setup a new NuevaSync account.
  • Workaround Tip: Most people don’t know that GMail disregards periods in your GMail email address. If you email address is [email protected], then mail sent to [email protected] also gets delivered to your account. Give it a try with your own address if you like. Knowing this, I created my new Nuevasync account and just put a period in my normal Gmail email address. Before doing that I tried, [email protected] … but the Pre knows that and are the same thing.
  • I’m not sure if the tip above works with Google Apps accounts.

Steps: I don’t think that the order really matters. But I’m going to assume that most of you have your GMail account already setup. So I’ll make that step one.

Step 1: If not already done, setup your Google account on your Pre. Doesn’t matter if you add it from the email, contacts, or calendar app.

Step 2: Go to preferences under the contacts app. Open the Google account and press “Remove Account” …. don’t be scared … it only removes it from the contacts app. It will not affect your mail settings for Google. Refer to page 144 of the User’s Guide for verification. Once you hit “Remove” you’ll be taken back to the preference screen. The Google account will continue to be shown for a couple of minutes while the Pre removes those contacts from your phone.

Step 3: From the preferences panel of the Contacts App, choose “Add an account.” Choose Exchange Server as the type. When you are prompted for your email address and password, choose “Manual Setup” from the menu in the upper left-hand corner.

Use these settings:

Email Address: The email address on your NuevaSync account. Remember, this must not exactly match your GMail account. If it does, you will get an error saying there is already an account for that email address on the phone.

Incoming Mail Server:
Domain: LEAVE BLANK (this differs from the nuevasync instructions for Windows Mobile)

Username: Your Nuevasync Username
Password: Your Nuevasync Password

Once that is all entered …. press Sign in and cross your fingers. If it says that your username/password do not match … make sure that you left the domain box empty and verify your username/password.

If you get some other kind of syncing problem. Click the troubleshooting link from within your account on There is a link within it that will show you the syncing errors with your account. Make sure that you have authorized Nuevasync to access your Google account.

Step 5: Go to preferences from within the CALENDAR app and remove the Google Calendar account.

Unfortunately, you cannot remove the Exchange account. Unlike other account types, removing an Exchange Account removes it from Calendar, Contacts, and Mail.

For this same reason, you can’t delete the Exchange account from within the mail app. I just removed it’s Inbox as a favorite and sorted my accounts so that mail profile was at the bottom.

IMO, small price to pay to not have an extra 1000 trash contacts from GMail. Maybe a future update will allow us to define what the Exchange account should since with.

Update on 7/20/2008: Does this work for you?

31 thoughts on “Palm Pre: Only Sync Google “My Contacts””

  1. Pingback: Gmail contacts - PreCentral Forums

  2. Pingback: Google Contacts not syncing completely - PreCentral Forums

  3. I have been trying and trying to do this workaround and cannot get it to work.

    I already have a period in my normal gmail address, so I can’t just add a period in Nueva, so I used another email address with Nueva (i.e. [email protected]) to sign up. Then when setting up within Nueva for the sync which email do I use? I use the one with all my contacts/calendar right? My original gmail address.

    I show in Nueva that I have it all setup right and the lights are green and show that I have 156 people in “MyContacts” to sync, so I think it may have to do with the exchange setup.

    Is this piece of your guide required:

    page 144 – Stop Sync of Contacts with an Online Account
    page 144 – Connect to an online calendar through the Palm Synergy feature
    page 155 – Stop Sync of Calendar With an Online Account

    Thanks for the help.

  4. @Scott. You could have just put another period in your original GMail account …. it doesn’t matter how many periods you put in it … GMail will still deliver the mail to you.

    But, ignore all of that. Sounds like you have your NuevaSync account setup right. So it probably is in the Exchange setup. Can you tell me what happening? Are you getting an error saying that the Pre can’t login to the Exchange Server? Make sure that you use the email address on your Nuevasync account as the email address on the Exchange profile.

    Nuevasync also posted their own guide with screenshots. Check it out:

  5. I know you mentioned the error message, but I do not get that.

    It tries to sync and goes for about 5 seconds and then nothing is there, like it does not connect with Nueva.

    I actually did try adding another period and still no luck. I tried ([email protected])

    I saw the screenshots, but your setup is more detailed. I have tried this so many ways and am frustrated. Ha Ha.

    Would it not work if I didn’t “Stop Sync of Calendar With an Online Account” and same for Contacts?

  6. The reason that I put the “stop sync with online calendar” in the guide was to prevent Nuevasync and Gmail from syncing with the calendar. Though I suppose you could turn off Calendar syncing from within Nuevasync, not sure why I didn’t think of that before.

    Log into and look at these two links:

    They’ll show you if there are any sync errors. Let me know what you find there.

  7. I will do that and reply shortly.

    I have deleted all accounts and started from scratch multiple times.

    It is normal when I setup my email account initially to have the Pre sync with ALL of my contacts, right?

  8. Yeah, that’s normal. When you add a GMail synergy profile in contact, calendar, or email app … the Pre automatically sets it up on the other ones.

    Once you switch to the contacts app and remove the GMail synergy profile … it will take a few minutes for the Pre to remove all of those contacts.

    Sorry you’ve having all of this trouble man. I had to jump though a few hoops when I first figured it out all … but I thought that the instruction I wrote were good. I set mine up this way on June 6th …. and haven’t touched the setup since. Hopefully once we figure it out for you it will be just as stable.

  9. So I just logged in and looked at both of these links:

    I did not get any errors with that 1st link.

    With this 2nd link I got the error:

    Sync Status Report

    Palm Treo (ID: PALM8845887a050ee2fb0baa11720076), sync status is: ERROR (13 hours ago)

    Error Diagnosis: Your Palm Treo supplied an incorrect password when syncing.
    To fix this problem, enter the correct password (the same password you used to log into this web site) for your Palm Treo sync configuration.

    Although I do remember one login attempt last night where I tried a different password and got an “incorrect password” message so I’m not sure if that is the same one. Thanks

  10. Thanks again for you help. I know with it I will get this worked out. I loved Nueva on Windows Mobile, so I am willing to go through any frustration.

  11. Hmmm …. and that first link still shows that you have 156 people to sync, right? This is all very strange.

    Looks like NuevaSync doesn’t think that you’ve tried to reconnect in the past 13 hrs.

    I logged into my NuevaSync account and the status was last updated 13 hours ago, too. Then I went into the contacts app setup screen on my Pre and pressed the “sync now” button. NuevaSync now shows that I synced 7 seconds ago.

    Go into your contact app and press the sync now button after you’ve added the NuevaSync Exhcange profile. Then go see if that NuevaSync page shows an updated timestamp.

    Have you tried setting it up and just giving the phone a 10-15 minutes to download contacts, it may not be instant. I’m sure you have done this, just asking to be sure.

  12. Pingback: Contacts created on Pre not syncing to Google - Page 2 - PreCentral Forums

  13. I followed all these instructions and after I sync it the nuevasync account is saying I have 0 contacts rather than the contacts I have in gmail, help?

  14. Bill,

    It takes a few minutes for the Pre to start downloading the contacts. Give it 5 minutes or so and see what happens.

    If that doesn’t help, log into and look at these two links:

    One of those links should show you the number of Google contacts that NuevaSync can see. The other link should show you any syncing errors between NuevaSync and your Pre.

    Let me know what you find there.

  15. Pingback: Palm Pre: Troubleshooting NuevaSync / Google Contacts |

  16. Thank you very much for this post. I have this working almost fully. The remaining issue is that when I make changes (deleting records in particular) in my gmail (google apps actually) contacts, they don’t appear on my Pre.

    – If I delete a contact in my google apps contacts list, then on nuevasync, it shows that there is one less contact then before (so change seems to be getting to nuevasync).
    – Even if I force the Pre to sync, by tapping “sync now” in the contacts preferences, it still doesn’t delete that contact from the Pre.
    – If I remove all contacts from the Pre by deleting the nuevasync account and then set it up again, the proper (reduced) number of contacts are synced.


    And one last question, is there any reason we need to sync the google calendar through nuevasync and not leave it syncing directly from the Palm?

  17. I did the same test as you. After deleting the contact, my NuevaSync account showed that the number of contacts had decreased by 1. I then forced my pre to sync. The deleted contact did not immediately disappear from my phone. However, after 1-2 minutes it disappeared. Give it a few minutes on your phone and let me know whether or not you get the same results.

    As for syncing the calendar with Google directly, just don’t setup your Google Account on in the calendar settings. A previous comment pointed that out to me and I immediately updated my setup. The native google calendar sync handles multiple calendars much better, in my opinion.

  18. Pingback: Help with my new Pre? - PreCentral Forums

  19. Why do you do this through Nuevasync? Why not just create a second Google account and export your contacts into that account, then use the new account for contacts, and the old account for email/calendar?

    I don't see the difference but maybe I'm missing something?

  20. Hi, I personally wouldn't do that because I like to have one google account for contacts, email, and calendar, for two main reasons:

    -So I can stay logged into the same account on the same browser all day.
    -So that I can send email to my contacts instead of cutting and pasting them from a second account–what a hassle that would be.

  21. Aaron, the sync was supposedly successful (nuevasync says sync status ok, data last transfered 8 minutes ago), but my contacts from my Pre do not show up in Gmail. (I'll try testing the other way around by putting new info in gmail contacts & seeing if it shows up on phone.) Strange!

  22. frickin' sweet! this was a fairly straightforward setup for me and it works. I tried several different ways of reconciling this crap between my Pre and Gmail-. highly annoying feature of Gmail, the auto-add behavior is extremely user unfriendly, esp with syncing on smart phones. If you google it a little this particular issue of spammed contacts has been a bug from "the launch of gmail" so it is unlikely that google overlords will fix it, and we must hope the palm people are more sympathetic. i am really about an inch from returning the stupid thing.

  23. @Hallie You probably need to set your default contact account to your NuevaSync profile. You can do this under Preferences in the Contacts app on your Pre. Once you do that, newly created contacts on your Pre will be added to your Google Account.

    If you have preexisting contacts on your Pre that are tied to another contacts account (like your Palm Profile), the Pre won't sync those back to Google. I'm not sure if you can reassign a contact from one Synergy profile to another.

  24. Pingback: WebOS 1.3.1 Update Fixes Google "My Contacts" syncing issue |

  25. Wow! Finally I like my Pre after following this tutorial. I was nearly ready to trade it in for a Droid. Nope…Not yet!

  26. pACE,

    This process in my blog entry that you read is no longer necessary. As of Web OS 1.3.1 (released mid-November 2009), WebOS devices automatically limit Google contact syncing to records in “My Contacts”. I removed the NuevaSync workaround from my phone back in November.

    I remember in November that Pre owners had to remove and readd the Google Contacts account to their phone in order to get the contacts that were not in “My Contacts” to disappear from the phone.

    If you remove the NuevaSync account and readd the Google account, it should work just fine for you too.

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